mcloudy.png
Thursday August 6th, 2020 12:50PM

Disney World reopens as coronavirus cases surge in Florida

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” has reopened after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are reopening Saturday, while Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow four days later.

“It's the chance to come back and be in the magic,” said Diane Watkins, a preschool teacher from Helena, Alabama, who visits the park about eight times a year. “Hot or not, mask or not, we’re just happy to be here. I feel like everybody here is in the same frame of mind. Everybody is just so excited to be here.”

Watkins said that when she and her 16-year-old daughter walked into the Magic Kingdom on Saturday morning, then saw all the cast members lined up and clapping on Main Street, she cried.

“It was very emotional,” she said.

The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks. On Saturday, there were about 10,000 new cases reported, according to state statistics. Many cities and counties around the state have recently reinstated restrictions that had been lifted in May, when cases seemed to drop.

All of Disney's Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando closed around the same time but reopened several weeks ago after instituting similar rules to protect employees and customers from the virus.

Lori Lovell of Evansville, Indiana, strolled around Frontierland on Saturday morning with friends.

“I have missed coming here. It just feels really good to be back. This is where I’ve made so many memories. It’s kind of our second home. Not being able to come here was hard.”

Disney's new rules include mandatory masks and social distancing. Visitors will need reservations to enter a park, and they won't be allowed to hop between parks. Both visitors and employees will receive temperature checks when they enter. Fireworks shows and parades have been suspended to prevent drawing too many people together.

Park-goers say that nearly everyone in sight wore masks on Saturday morning. Capacity is nowhere near where it is under normal circumstances, they said.

“I’ve been here on spring breaks where you can barely walk around. The walkways are very wide open,” said Lovell.

There were lots of hand sanitizer stations around, and people were respecting the physical distancing cues and guidelines. Since the park is at lower capacity, there was only a five-minute wait for the popular Buzz Lightyear ride — normally it's about 90 minutes, Watkins said.

Some attractions and dining areas aren't yet open. Another change: visitors can't hug and greet the costumed Disney characters. Instead, the characters are in “cavalcades,” or motorcades, as they make their way through the park.

Disney has been opening its parks back up around the globe for the past two months. In May, the company opened Disney Springs, a complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in Lake Buena Vista.

___

Tamara Lush reported from St. Petersburg, Fla.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Entertainment, AP Business, AP Business - Consumer News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Disney World reopens as coronavirus cases surge in Florida
“The Most Magical Place on Earth” has reopened after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
12:14PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Leaders, survivors mark 25 years since Srebrenica massacre
World leaders have joined survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre to remember the 25th anniversary of the atrocity, the only crime in Europe since World War II that has been declared a genocide
12:13PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Coronavirus deaths take a long-expected turn for the worse
A long-expected upturn in U.S. coronavirus deaths has begun, driven by fatalities in states in the South and West
12:10PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump lags Biden on people of color in top campaign ranks
At a time of racial unrest and calls for more diversity in leadership, President Donald Trump lags Democratic rival Joe Biden in the percentage of nonwhite senior aides on their campaigns
11:33AM ( 47 minutes ago )
Even during pandemic beekeeping remains an essential service
The nation's capital has declared beekeepers to be essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak
11:22AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Dozens of US Marines in Japan's Okinawa get coronavirus
Officials on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa say dozens of U.S. Marines have been infected with the coronavirus at two bases on the island in what is feared to be a massive outbreak
11:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Foreign students weigh studying in person vs. losing visas
International students worried about a new immigration policy that could potentially cost them their visas say they feel stuck between being unnecessarily exposed during the coronavirus pandemic and being able to finish their studies in America
1:01AM ( 11 hours ago )
California couple agrees to guilty pleas in college scam
A California couple has agreed to plead guilty to paying $250,000 to get their daughter into the University of Southern California as a fake volleyball recruit
8:42PM ( 15 hours ago )
US appeals to proceed with 1st federal execution in 17 years
The Justice Department plans to appeal a judge’s ruling that would halt the first federal execution in nearly two decades
7:37PM ( 16 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Correction: Virus Outbreak-Georgia story
In a story July 10, 2020, about coronavirus infections surging in Georgia, The Associated Press erroneously reported that St. Joseph’s/Candler hospital system in Savannah had six patients with COVID-19 in critical care
11:17AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden forges brand of liberal populism to use against Trump
Joe Biden is pledging to define his presidency by a sweeping economic agenda beyond anything Americans have seen since the Great Depression and the industrial mobilization for World War II
9:39AM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: N.C. Republican state senator tests positive
A North Carolina state senator says he’s tested positive for COVID-19
9:16AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business
German intel warns against giving data to Chinese tech firms
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency is warning consumers that personal data they provide to Chinese payment companies or other tech firms could end up in the hands of China’s government
10:48AM ( 2 days ago )
COVID-19 data on Medicare's nursing home site is incomplete
The Trump administration is requiring nursing homes to report their COVID-19 cases and deaths
3:12PM ( 3 days ago )
Medicare nursing home virus site leaves users 'in the dark'
The Trump administration is requiring nursing homes to report their COVID-19 cases and deaths
6:44AM ( 4 days ago )
AP Business - Consumer News
Leaders, survivors mark 25 years since Srebrenica massacre
World leaders have joined survivors of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre to remember the 25th anniversary of the atrocity, the only crime in Europe since World War II that has been declared a genocide
12:13PM ( 6 minutes ago )
Coronavirus deaths take a long-expected turn for the worse
A long-expected upturn in U.S. coronavirus deaths has begun, driven by fatalities in states in the South and West
12:10PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Beckham son Brooklyn is engaged to actress Nicola Peltz
Brooklyn Beckham, son of retired soccer superstar David Beckham and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham, and American actress Nicola Peltz have announced that they’re engaged
12:08PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Virus cases up sharply in Africa, India as inequality stings
South Africa’s confirmed coronavirus cases have doubled in two weeks to a quarter-million, and India has seen its biggest daily spike as its total passed 800,000
12:01PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Lightning's Stamkos injured again at start of training camp
Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is expected to be limited at the start of training camp because of a lower-body injury
11:47AM ( 32 minutes ago )